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Know Your Rights in an Eminent Domain Case

Know Your Rights in an Eminent Domain Case

Did you know that a government or public agency can forcibly seize your property to be used for a public purpose under the powers of “eminent domain?” In the event that your home or property should sit in the path of a public project such as the construction of a highway, utility building, or pipeline, the state may force you to sell your property to it in exchange for “reasonable compensation.” In most cases, this is interpreted as an amount equal to the property’s fair market value. Eminent domain cases can be extremely complex and pit a homeowner against powerful forces if contested. If you should ever be faced with this type of situation, it is important you remain aware of your rights to maximize your chances of securing the compensation you deserve for your land.

  1. You do not have to accept the first offer: The seizing agency will make you an initial monetary offer for your property. You are not obligated in any way to accept this offer. An attorney can help you negotiate for a fair price for your property and minimize your chances of being taken advantage of by any party. If an agreement cannot be reached, the government must undergo a process of condemnation in order to claim your property.
  2. You have the right to another appraisal: In many cases, the first offer that a person receives for their property is far less than what the homeowner actually deserves. If you believe you are being presented with a “lowball” offer, you may exercise your right to a secondary appraisal of your property by an appraiser of their choice.
  3. Your property may only be seized for “public necessity”: The government may only exercise its power of eminent domain to seize property that will be used for the good of the public. The term definition of “public use” is changing, however, as a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that a government entity may condemn land for a future for-profit use. An attorney can help you contest the reasoning behind the seizure of your land.
  4. You have the right to contest an eminent domain action: Aggrieved parties who object to the government seizing their land must be given sufficient notice of the government’s intent, be given the opportunity to contest the action at a formal hearing, and be presented with the opportunity to request either injunctive or monetary relief.

Eminent Domain Lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona

If you are facing seizure of your land under eminent domain, our high-caliber Phoenix eminent domain attorneys at Schern Richardson Finter Decker, PLC can fight to protect your rights and maximize your amount of entitled compensation. To find out more about how we can assist you, schedule a confidential consultation online today or call (888) 464-9958.

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